COVID-19 cases reported in two nursing homes with special polling stations

SINGAPORE: At least two nursing homes with special polling stations have reported cases of COVID-19.

According to Singaporean Chinese media outlet Lianhe Zaobao, the Elections Department (ELD) has announced that the special voting arrangements will remain unchanged.

They emphasized that all nursing homes have implemented safety precautions.

Authorities are working to ensure a secure voting process while minimizing the risk of spreading infectious diseases like COVID-19. This is in order to safeguard nursing home residents and election personnel.

The ELD specified that these measures include disinfecting ballot boxes and stamps used by voters, requiring election personnel to use hand sanitizer while assisting different voters and allowing only authorized election personnel to enter the polling area.

Candidates and polling agents will observe the voting process from outside the polling area.

The ELD also mentioned that election personnel are mandated to wear masks, adhere to strict hygiene practices, and wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as required by the nursing homes.

Nursing homes have also implemented pandemic control measures to reduce the transmission of the virus.

The ELD stressed that vaccination rates in local nursing homes are high, with nearly 95% of residents having received at least the minimum level of protection.

With the assistance of the Ministry of Health, the ELD assured that they will continue to monitor the situation in all nursing homes.

A total of 31 nursing homes islandwide are participating in a pilot program where polling arrangements will be set up on-site. Mobile polling teams will visit residents who are bedridden.

These measures are intended to make it easier and more convenient for eligible voters in nursing homes, particularly for seniors with limited mobility, to participate in the Presidential Election 2023, which aims to choose Singapore’s ninth president.

Each of the 31 nursing homes selected for the pilot program has more than 50 eligible voters. As per the Ministry of Health’s 2022 records, there are a total of 83 nursing homes in Singapore.

The polls commenced at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 8 p.m. on Friday (1 Sept), allowing Singaporean citizens to elect their President from three candidates: Mr Ng Kok Song (75), the former GIC investment chief; Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam (66), a former senior minister of the People’s Action Party; and Mr Tan Kin Lian (75), the former NTUC Income chief.

According to the latest updates from the Elections Department (ELD), as of 5 p.m., a total of 2,302,996 Singaporeans, representing approximately 85 per cent of eligible voters, have cast their votes.

The polls began at 8 a.m., and the Elections Department (ELD) advises those who have not voted yet to ensure they have enough time to do so before the polls close at 8 p.m.

There are a total of 2,709,455 voters eligible to participate in this election, signifying an increase of over 55,000 individuals from the 2,653,942 electors in GE2020.

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